The Global and the Intimate

The Global and the Intimate: Feminism in Our Time

Geraldine PRATT
Victoria ROSNER
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/prat15448
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  • Book Info
    The Global and the Intimate
    Book Description:

    By placing the global and the intimate in near relation, sixteen essays by prominent feminist scholars and authors forge a distinctively feminist approach to questions of transnational relations, economic development, and intercultural exchange. This pairing enables personal modes of writing and engagement with globalization debates and forges a definition of justice keyed to the specificity of time, place, and feeling. Writing from multiple disciplinary and geographical perspectives, the contributors participate in a long-standing feminist tradition of upending spatial hierarchies and making theory out of the practices of everyday life.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52084-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: THE GLOBAL AND THE INTIMATE
    (pp. 1-28)
    Geraldine Pratt and Victoria Rosner

    How many intimate relationships do you maintain through the Internet or over the phone? Can you touch those you love on a daily basis, or are you as likely to “hear” their voices through a text message or telephone call and see their faces on a computer screen? Do you live in the land of your birth, or did you or previous generations of your family originate in distant lands? Where did the food come from that you ingested today? When you rest your hands on your computer in the morning, do you ever think about where it was made...

  5. I THE ANATOMY OF INTIMACY:: BODIES, FEELINGS, AND THE EVERYDAY
    • 1 INTIMACY: A USEFUL CATEGORY OF TRANSNATIONAL ANALYSIS
      (pp. 31-56)
      Ara Wilson

      Recently, feminist and queer studies of global power have turned to the concept of intimacy both as a subject and as an analytic rubric. They pair intimacy with globalization, or with its predecessors, colonialism and imperialism, or with the umbrella concepts, modernization and capitalist modernity.¹

      I see three reasons for this global-intimate pairing. One reason is that global political economic conditions have profound effects on human relationships, notably by introducing and then altering sweeping divisions between realms deemed public and private. Second, as feminist and queer works insist, intimate life is not confined to the private sphere but plays a...

    • 2 IN THE INTERESTS OF TASTE AND PLACE: ECONOMIES OF ATTACHMENT
      (pp. 57-84)
      Elspeth Probyn

      There is perhaps no area where the global inserts itself more into the intimate lives of people than in the realms of food production and consumption. While the worldwide circulation of food and people has been speeded up in a spectacular fashion through global technology and logistics, food has long traveled and connected very different peoples and lands. Whether it be in the Roman Empire, which circulated different crops and foodstuffs, or in the spice trade that brought Asia, India, and Europe into close contact, or the slave routes of sugar and other alimentary commodities, foodways have long been a...

    • 3 JAMAICA KINCAID’S PRACTICAL POLITICS OF THE INTIMATE IN MY GARDEN (BOOK):
      (pp. 85-104)
      Agnese Fidecaro

      My Garden (book): (London: Vintage, 1999) is a collection of essays that Jamaica Kincaid wrote for her gardening column in the New Yorker and for magazines such as Architectural Digest and Travel and Leisure.¹ In this chronicle of Kincaid’s gardening practice, she meditates upon the pleasure she derives from it while also dispensing some of the practical information that gardeners are interested in, from her purchases of tools and seeds to her trips to various nurseries and gardens. Thus, the essays fit in and rewrite a heterogeneous tradition of garden writing that includes “numerous classic guides to planting and tending...

    • 4 WIDENING CIRCLES
      (pp. 105-116)
      Rachel Adams

      The resident who stitched me up looked improbably young. I watched his head bobbing between my thighs. Everything was numb enough to block the pain, but still I could feel him handling the most private recesses of my body. I can’t remember much about his face, but I know he wore a surgical cap made of colorful print fabric and that his hair was buzzed close to his head, military style.

      He finished what he was doing and stepped back to survey his work. Concluding that it was good enough, he told me that the stitches would fall out within...

  6. II MEMORY, HISTORY, COMMUNITY:: PERSONAL NARRATIVE IN A TRANSNATIONAL FRAME
    • 5 FACING: INTIMACY ACROSS DIVISIONS
      (pp. 119-144)
      Mieke Bal

      One of the most tenacious instances of universalism—the belief in the universality of something—is motherhood, doubtlessly the most intimate of relationships. The current state of the allegedly globalized world makes this universalism both urgently necessary and deeply problematic. This ambivalence is the topic of my contribution to this volume.

      Thinking of motherhood as a universal usefully counters problematic relativizing. For example, relativizing the horror of losing a child by alleging that, in some severely underprivileged countries, losing a child to illness, hunger, or violence occurs so frequently that it is “normal” would be a painful condescendence and a...

    • 6 OBJECTS OF RETURN
      (pp. 145-167)
      Marianne Hirsch

      At the end of Lily Brett’s 1999 novel, Too Many Men, Edek and his Australian-born daughter Ruth return one more time to Kamedulska Street in Lódz where Edek had grown up as a small boy and young man in the 1920s and 1930s. They had already been there several times and, each time, had discovered additional objects that provided clues to Edek’s and his family’s past. Ruth had gone there by herself to buy, for inordinate sums of money, her grandmother’s tea service and other personal items that the old couple living in Edek’s former apartment brought out for her...

    • 7 NARRATIVES AND RIGHTS: ZLATA’S DIARY AND THE CIRCULATION OF STORIES OF SUFFERING ETHNICITY
      (pp. 168-185)
      Sidonie Smith

      At this historical moment, human-rights activism remains the primary global project for managing injustice and immiseration around the world,¹ and life stories are at once ground and grist of rights work, rights instrumentalities, and rights discourse. This conjunction of life narration, broadly defined, and contemporary human-rights activism, is indeed, as Kay Schaffer and I argue in Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition, a productive and problematic yoking of the decidedly intimate with the global.² Since the language of human rights is the contemporary lingua franca for addressing the problem of suffering,³ the attachment of personal storytelling to...

    • 8 LETTER FROM ARGENTINA
      (pp. 186-192)
      Nancy K. Miller

      For a long time I had wondered about a letter in a thin, pale blue airmail envelope, frayed around the edges, and missing a stamp. The letter was addressed jointly to my father’s brother, Mr. S. Kipnis, and to my grandmother, Sadie, in North Bergen, New Jersey. My grandmother’s name spelled “Sade,” was written off to the side, twice, one above the other on the envelope; the family name had also been added below, a second time, spelled Kipnes. On the envelope, the town’s name was Hispanisized as Norte-Bergen, as were the rest of the address lines: New-York, America Norte....

  7. III LEGISLATING INTIMACY:: WOMEN’S WORK, STATE CONTROL, AND THE POLITICS OF REPUTATION
    • 9 “SECURITY MOMS” IN TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY U.S.A.: THE GENDER OF SECURITY IN NEOLIBERALISM
      (pp. 195-210)
      Inderpal Grewal

      The issue of security/insecurity that pervades the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century has led us to think about feminisms in newly urgent ways. How do we understand what is happening with feminism when feminist discourses are used to bomb and to liberate, when feminist discourses, strategies, and injuries become available in new and unintended ways to empower, to secure, and to destroy? While most “security” expertise addresses questions of states and geopolitics while ignoring gender, race, or sexuality, many feminist scholars have brought in these categories usefully for a critique of masculinity and militarism and by...

    • 10 “LIKE A FAMILY, BUT NOT QUITE”: EMOTIONAL LABOR AND CINEMATIC POLITICS OF INTIMACY
      (pp. 211-231)
      Tsung-yi Michelle Huang and Chi-she Li

      Driven by the tides of economic globalization, migrant workers have emerged as a salient presence in work forces worldwide. As migrant workers cross national borders to work, they are also confronted by barriers of other kinds. In Taiwan, as is the case in many other countries, legal measures ensure that migrant workers remain transients, unlikely to overstay their term of employment and make claims on precious social resources. In addition to legal borders, symbolic borders proliferate, and they prove as effective at barring migrant workers from substantial participation in society, culture, and politics. As the political philosopher Étienne Balibar reminds...

    • 11 WHAT WE WOMEN TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT INTERRACIAL LOVE
      (pp. 232-242)
      Min Jin Lee

      I got the awkward question at a book club in Westchester.

      After the tasty potluck supper, the members and I were sitting in the host’s beautiful living room, balancing plates of chocolate cake and mugs of coffee on our laps. It was the spring of 2008; my first novel had come out in paperback, and I was visiting a large book club near Scarsdale. The members were working moms—hospital administrators, teachers, and small business owners—who had somehow found the time to read a debut novel about a Korean American immigrant community based in New York City. The women...

    • 12 THE PEDAGOGY OF THE SPIRAL: INTIMACY AND CAPTIVITY IN A WOMEN’S PRISON
      (pp. 243-264)
      Marisa Belausteguigoitia Rius

      On Friday, 1 February 2009, Tulio Lizcano, a Colombian congressman, escaped from FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas after eight years of captivity somewhere in the jungles of Colombia. During those eight years he talked to only seventeen people. He saw the sun only twice. And he engaged in an activity that saved his life. As he explains to the Mexican newspaper Reforma:

      I found a strategy to defeat loneliness. I cut several sticks, buried them in the ground, cut little pieces of paper, and wrote some names on them of students I used to teach in the university....

  8. IV GLOBAL FEMINISM AND THE SUBJECTS OF KNOWLEDGE
    • 13 WITNESSING, FEMICIDE, AND A POLITICS OF THE FAMILIAR
      (pp. 267-288)
      Melissa W. Wright

      What is the cost of establishing familiarity as the criterion for mobilizing political action? This question, which is at the heart of Judith Butler’s query above, is central to discussions within the human rights literature regarding the political advantages and disadvantages of forming social justice movements around the politics of testimonial witnessing, a strategy that hinges upon establishing familiarity between the testifier and her public as a way to create a political community of witnesses to injustice.¹

      In this essay, I examine this question in relation to a social movement in northern Mexico that, in the mid-1990s, galvanized political action...

    • 14 SOLIDARITY, SELF-CRITIQUE, AND SURVIVAL: SANGTIN’S STRUGGLES WITH FIELDWORK
      (pp. 289-304)
      Reena, Richa Nagar, Richa Singh and Surbala

      In 2002, nine women began a collective journey in the Sitapur District of India’s Uttar Pradesh as activists, critics, writers, and close companions. Eight of these women were grassroots workers in the district office of Mahila Samakhya Programme (MS), a large and influential government-sponsored nongovernment organization (NGO). The ninth member was an academic in a U.S. university who also worked as a creative writer and volunteer in people’s organizations in Uttar Pradesh. The journey sought to challenge the traditional separations among activist, academic, and creative labor by evolving methodologies through which grassroots leadership could emerge to collectively rearticulate the needs...

    • 15 TEHRAN KIDS
      (pp. 305-310)
      Mikhal Dekel

      Growing up in Haifa, Israel, I knew that my father had survived extermination in Poland by fleeing to British-controlled Palestine during World War II together with a group of children later dubbed the Tehran Children. He was, as I was occasionally told, “lucky” to have been a Tehran Child, but what did that mean? For most of my childhood and much of my adulthood I had not given it much thought. When I did, I had an embarrassingly naive and grossly fantastical picture in my mind of a group of Jewish kids carried en masse from their homes in Poland...

  9. List of Contributors
    (pp. 311-316)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 317-326)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-328)